MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A recent study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation said more than 300,000 Minnesotans live within evacuation limits of the route that oil-carrying trains take from North Dakota through Minnesota.

According to MnDOT, a half of a mile from these rail routes is considered an evacuation zone if a train were to derail.

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Five to seven trains carrying crude oil travel the roughly 700 miles from North Dakota to Minnesota daily, each with roughly 3.3 million gallons of oil.

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MnDOT said in the study that an estimated 326,170 people live within a half mile of the route, and would need to be evacuated if a train derailed.

“This data provides a greater emphasis on the need for a strong rail safety program,” MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle said. “If trains derail and an emergency occurs, many lives could be in danger.”

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MnDOT said Gov. Mark Dayton has recommended improvements at 75 highway-rail grade crossings in hope of improving safety and to ensure that first responders are not stopped at blocked crossings.